(below is the excerpt from an interview with SAR Geelani. Stay tuned for the exclusive interview)
ON ROHITH VEMULA
We know that present administration in India has a fascist agenda. They are depriving people of their rights, whether they are Dalits, minorities or others. They have a clear cut agenda of Hindutva and they are trying to impose it on others. So from Hyderabad a movement has started. Rohith Vemula has given his life, which actually gave a life to the movement.
Why was Rohith Vemula put to death? Why was he forced to commit suicide? Because he was becoming the inspiration for others, he was bringing people together. He was making people aware of their rights and bringing them together to get their rights, so they (Right wing) saw to it that his life comes to an end.
ON SEDITION ROW
This sedition row and talking about hyper nationalism was actually to sideline the movement of Justice for Rohith Vemula and Justice for Dalits. The problem again is, its not the fascist who have its clear cut agenda imposed at us. But, unfortunately those who talk about the right to freedom of speech, those who talk about the rights of others,they also connive.
In the sedition row, everybody is talking about Kanhaiya. Nobody was talking about Umar and Anirban in the beginning and it was later their name came to the forefront. For me , almost nobody talked. It’s very difficult to talk about someone’s freedom of speech who is a Kashmiri, who is a muslim and who talks about the right to self determination.
Future of democracy in this country is very bleak. If these people don’t start speaking now, then it would be too late for them to actually come out. This is actually a criminal silence from their part. Hyderabad has been such a huge issue. It was not confined to just Hyderabad only. It went all over this country. Only mainstream is not playing enough attention to them.
LESS MEDIA COVERAGE ON UoH
Media is concentrated mainly on Delhi. Media is actually not a watchdog right now,they are an extension of spokesperson of the government..The government actually uses them for propoganda. They try to impose thought on people.
In that picture, Dalit’s rights are not in government’s agenda. Rohith Vemula and hundreds of others committed suicide because of oppression. They are not on government’s agenda then how can they be on media’s agenda, because media’s agenda is fixed by the government, by the power at the centre. It has to be countered.
I remember once we were in a meeting when somebody was talking about the mainstream, a friend of mine from northeast could not tolerate it for long. He got up and asked: what do you mean by mainstream, hindi speaking and chappathi eating??
POLICE CRACKDOWN IN CAMPUS: A TEASER of KASHMIRI DAILY LIFE
In Hyderabad, there is only Police and Police is not trained to kill. But in Kashmir and Northeast, security forces are armed with a license to kill anyone. The sort of certificate is given to them in the form of AFSPA, which empowers them to kill anyone on the basis of mere suspicion without checking if the person could be innocent and that is what actually keeps happening. You have thousands of innocents killed and still can’t prosecute the killers. You need a sanction from the central government to do it. You ask them, they wont give you sanctions.
There are hundreds of application from the government of Kashmir, not from the people, pending here. Nobody is arrested. They have done it and they will do it. They can kill you and destroy your property without any accountability. Here they still fear that there is an accountability because people are seeing. There people see, people know everything. They even approached courts. Courts can’t do anything, because court can’t hold them accountable, unless the central government permits them. Central government will never do it because they don’t want it to happen.
Hyderabad students are still the people of the land, but Kashmiris and northeast are the ‘others’. You can just finish off the ‘others’. Here, they would still have this fear that people will come around, courts might take note of it, it doesn’t happen there in the valleys of Kashmir and northeast. In 2008 and 2010 something happened in Kashmir and all these champions of free speech talked about it. Once the anger died down a bit everybody forget about it. Innocent kids playing cricket were killed in Kashmir. Some of them were coming back from their schools and were killed. Everybody knows who killed them.
The government is now trying to repeat the same kind of experience in curbing the voice of dissent. People should realize it. Actually progressive forces and other forces should come together and fight this right now.If they don’t, they will loose the kind of opportunities. It will hurt them very badly.The fascists are trying to shrink that democratic space. If you don’t hold it now, you will loose it forever. You have to fight with all your strength to hold it back. If you lose that ground, you won’t get it back.